It wasn’t that long ago when minivans were the suburban vehicle of choice. But gradually, large car-based SUVs nudged them into the slow lane of oblivion.
Toyota seemed to have an answer for its fading Sienna, bidding goodbye to its gas-powered model and offering a hybrid-only powertrain in 2021. The results were phenomenal, more than doubling Sienna’s previous year’s sales to 107,990. However, the boom was short-lived as sales plummeted to 20,061 in 2022.
Times are tough for most minivans. Even the top-rated Honda Odyssey has suffered with sales dwindling to 47,615 in 2022. Many frustrated auto manufacturers haven’t been as patient as the two Japanese companies, discontinuing their minivans. One exception is the Chrysler Pacifica, the only plug-in hybrid. It’s currently the top-selling minivan.
The 2023 Toyota Sienna arrived with a 25th anniversary edition, one of seven trim levels. The anniversary model combines the sporty styling of the XSE with the Limited’s many optional offerings. Toyota only made 2,525 anniversary editions and the exterior paint choice is either white or silver.
Even though the days of the mom minivans are gone, the Sienna still offers a great option for hauling around lots of kids. It still has three rows and can transport up to eight passengers unless the second row captain’s seats are chosen.
The Sienna is equipped with two electric motors that combine with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine to generate 245 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. We found it sluggish overall, verified by its 0-60 mph speed of 7.7 seconds. It has standard front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive an option. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.
What sets the Sienna apart from traditional minivans is fuel economy. It can go a long way on a tank of gas, getting 35-36 mpg. Although the Odyssey has a more powerful V6 engine, its gas mileage is much less than the Sienna at 19-28 mpg.
For a large vehicle, the Sienna has solid driving dynamics, delivering responsive steering, good stability around turns, and maneuverability in tight parking areas where pulling in and out of a spot can be challenging.
Driver safety features include forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning with steering assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, traffic-sign recognition, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning alert, and adaptive cruise control.
Since they are often taking children from place to place, all minivans are judged heavily by their interior offerings. The Sienna receives good grades here, thanks to its roomy and comfortable interior that’s easy to enter and exit. The driver is aided by large windows and available surround-view camera.
Standard features include power-adjustable driver’s seat, 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Wi-Fi hot spot, satellite radio, seven USB ports, and six-speaker audio system. There’s also a whopping 16 cupholders, multi-level door pockets, and a large shelf between the front passengers that can store a handbag.
AT A GLANCE – 2023 TOYOTA SIENNA
- Performance: two electric motors, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 245 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 35-36 mpg
- Price estimate: $36,200 to $52,400
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 2 years/unlimited; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited; hybrid-related components: 8 years/100,000 miles
We found the touchscreen’s graphics outdated, but we liked that the menus are simple and there are physical controls for audio and climate settings, rather than everything being a touchscreen function. We also like that the Sienna has three-zone automatic climate control.
Behind the three rows, the Sienna has a deep well for cargo storage that provides 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space. It expands to 75.2 cubic feet with the third row folded flat and 101 cubes with both rows down. The downside is the second-row doesn’t fold flat to the floor and can’t be removed.
We love the fuel economy of the 2023 Toyota Sienna, giving it a reason to stick out among its rivals. It has a very accommodating interior and remains a great option for hauling kids around town.